Inxeba verban: akademici reageer

Inxeba verban: akademici reageer

Kritiek van beide kante vanuit 'n queer perspektief

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Die berugte film Inxeba is vir alle praktiese doeleindes verban nadat die omstrede FPB se appéltribunaal dit herskeduleer het van 16LS na ’n ouderdomsbeperking van X18. Hewige kritiek is hierteen uitgespreek as homofobiese sensorskap. Die filmmakers het sederdien hulself na die hof gewend. Die gesprek is verder gevoer by die onlangse konferensie Queer life in the global South, aangebied deur UNISA in Pretoria. Verskeie onderwerpe wat handel oor queer theory is bespreek, onder meer die literatuur van Lauren Beukes, Judith Butler en Koos Prinsloo, met 'n gasvertoning deur Amanda Palmer. Hier is van die uiteenlopende opinies wat gedeel is oor Inxeba. Die meerderheid van die konferensiegangers het die film al gesien.


'The care of men'

Prof Taiwo Adetunji Osinubi het gepraat oor die simboliek en relevansie van Inxeba (bedoelende "the cut" in Xhosa) en die boek A man who is not a man deur Thando Mgqolozana. Hy het spesifiek na die narratiewe rondom "sorg" gekyk. Hiermee 'n geparafraseerde opsomming:

"It is refreshing to see a South African made queer film not based in a city. It is an African film that considers LGBT+ people in the wider continent contextualised within the growing debate of (queer) constitutionalism. In the first sex scene both characters just stand there and follow each other without speaking, almost like going down a tunnel. The focus is on the moment of penetration – it has become important who penetrates whom – categorising the dominant and submissive. The first love scene isn't about making love, it is rather a (violent) submission to the phallus. Gradually a shift takes place as the sex changes throughout the film. In the waterfall scene they are both nude, following a posture of embrace where the role of caregiver is inverted. The violent is made vulnerable. All the boys/men in the film are caught in a liminal process and the bond between them as caregivers and initiates are strengthened throughout the film. We see the paradoxical interplay of care vs. depravation, care vs. abuse... It is here where A man who is not a man gives us insight to circumcision gone wrong in the context of Ulwaluko (the initiation ceremony). It portrays how gay men are considered emblems of cultural loss. The Constitution is a decree, but what actually happens on the ground is another matter. The Constitution does not always stretch into the everyday life and as such queer constitutionalism's implementation is limited. All the characters are in need of different care, but there is a lack of consensus about what this care means. Retribution against those who are claimed to be homosexual by gay characters themselves are a defence of self. This film opens the debate on the various matters the film addresses to the broader continent through the comment that 'This is South Africa, not Uganda or Zimbabwe'." 

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Vrae en bespreking uit die gehoor het 'n lewendige gesprek ontlok of besnyding eerder as "genital mutilation" geag moet word. Die skaarsheid van lesbiese verteenwoordiging in queer cinema is ook aangeraak, sowel as 'n inlesing van kwessies wat queer vroue in die gesig staar wat nie in die kollig geplaas word deur die film nie.

Daar is aangevoer dat die film nie besonderhede oor Ulwaluko verklap wat nie reeds aan die publiek bekend was nie, nie eers dat gay seks daar voorkom nie. Die belangrikheid om sosio-politiese en kulturele betekenis te ontgin uit ons lewens, binne in die grondwetlike bestel, is beklemtoon en die vrywaring van hierdie ritueel aan kritiek en kommentaar is krities beoordeel.  


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'Don't go there'

Anele Siswana, 'n gay Xhosa man wat self deur Ulwaluko gegaan het, se voordrag het as teenkanting gestaan vir die heersende sieninge rondom die betrokke onderwerpe. Hy het teenstrydig opgemerk dat alhoewel hy nie met al die elemente wat gepaard gaan met Ulwaluko saamstem nie, hy dit ten volle ondersteun.

"It is a cultural space that is sacred and protected. It is a men's only business. Xhosa women aren't even allowed to comment on the ritual. The film is a destruction of the practice which is supposed to be sacred, the homosexuality is diluting the culture. The director, a white man, should especially not be commenting on the ritual. It is an insult to the culture. Ulwaluko is being policed by popular culture and media because of its producing of heterosexual masculinities. The space does not cater for homosexual men. The very essence of the rite of passage entails that you will become a macho man, violent, a strong provider. If you do not subscribe to these ideologies, that are seen as normal, you will be seen being out of place. Boys go to the initiation due to pressure in their society, they conform, for otherwise something will go wrong in their lives. Minister Fikile Mbalula had to go to Ulwaluko well into his 30's because parliamentarians would not accept his leadership as his manhood and personhood was not confirmed. Through Inxeba a possibility is showed how the space can be made more accommodating for gay men, but it is still very much against the nature of Ulwaluko. It's a very hard negotiation to do. Being gay is unAfrican, a non-existent phenomenon. The actual act of sex is the very worst. I believe in this practice (Ulwaluko) if it is done well."

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Uit die paneel is daar aan Dr Kiguwa gestel dat die dood van 'n seun vanweë die deurgangsritueel veel erger is as 'n seun wat gay is. Dit is ook gestel dat sy sieninge ander beskerm wat homofobiese uitkyke, gekoppel aan toksiese patriargie, koester.

Die rol van die wit man as eienaar van die land waarop die film afspeel en die voortgesette effek van apartheid is ook bespreek. In die film word 'n bok gesteel as deel van die ritueel. Die pertinente relevansie van die bok is ook uitgelig en bespreek. Die seuns word as bokke gesien voor hulle die deurgangsritueel deurmaak en eers daarna as mans. Deel van Ulwaluko is om iets uitdagend te doen – soos die steel en slagting van 'n bok. Nelson Mandela het geskryf oor hoe hy 'n vark gesteel het in sy outobiografie. Hierdie gesprek was gekontekstualiseer binne die debat rondom eienaarskap en het gespeel met die politiese vraagstuk rondom onteiening sonder vergoeding.

Daar is gevra of die queer persoon se rol is om lyne te oortree, "to transgress". 'n Gedagtegang: "A right of passage vs. the perpetuating of a toxic heteronormative culture."


'Neocolonial'

Alfred Moraka se bydrae was van die sterkste omdat dit die einste queer theory waarop die konferensie geskoei was, afgemaak het as 'n indringende Westerse perspektief wat nie gepas was om vraagstukke rondom Ulwaluko af te vra óf te beantwoord nie.

"Seniority is determined by Ulwaluko. It is the Xhosa society's way of understanding itself. The perspective from which the film is being judged is through a western/imperialised/colonised perspective in the English language. Gender was inscribed on African people by colonisation. Why does one have to reach out to cinematic representation and Western lexicons to solve internal cultural problems? It's the continuation of colonisation. The masters tool can't dismantle the master's tool. Africanness is its own alternative universe with its own rules and procedures."

Daar is verdaag vir middagete.


Lees meer oor die konferensie hier. Die voordragte word oorweeg vir latere publikasie.


  • Regstelling: Daar is 'n vorige weergawe foutiewelik na Dr Peace Kiguwa verwys waar die persoon inderwaarheid Anele Siswana heet. Anele Siswana is die gay Xhosa man wat gepraat het oor sy navorsing (saam met Dr Kiguwa) oor Ulwaluko.

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